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Review: openSuse 11.0 (and KDE 4)

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I’ve never used Suse or openSuse. I’ve been a “loyal” Fedora user since Fedora Core 1 and I have Ubuntu on my laptop since it had awesome laptop support. It’s been a few years and nothing horrible has happened because of the Microsoft pact and it came as a liveDVD in the latest Linux Format Magazine. I was trying to wait until KDE 4.1 came out for Fedora so that could be my first experience with KDE 4, but that’s been delayed nearly a month now (while they, rightly, fix some bugs) so I decided to go ahead with the Suse review.

Suse is the second oldest distro that’s still around. It started off as being based off of Slackware and later on was somewhat based on Red Hat, borrowing rpm and some other technologies. Since then it’s gone off on its own and is now considered one of the big boys. A few years after Red Hat shelved its personal distro and converted over to the community-sponsored Fedora, Suse decided to do the same thing with openSuse. Just like Fedora, they’ve had some uneven releases. However, openSuse 11 is supposed to be their comeback release. Historically, Suse has been one of the biggest supporters of KDE as the default desktop although that has fallen off a little seince they’ve been trying to compete with Red Hat in the business world.

It’s important to note, however, that Novell’s Suse team has put a LOT of work into their KDE desktop. This liveDVD is running KDE 4.0, yet they didn’t seem to have any problems getting icons on the desktop. Lots of people were complaining about being unable to do so in Fedora and other distros using KDE 4. Apparently, they just didn’t take the time that Suse did to engineer a really good KDE 4 release. (Frankly, I’m surprised that Siego didn’t point to openSuse 11.0 as an example of a well-implemented KDE 4.0 release!) They’ve also solved the problem of the ugly black panel that was too large. So, plus points go to Novell’s openSuse/Suse KDE team. They deserve an applause for doing this so well!

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